Low-income individuals tend to feel the effects of a declining economy most severely. The state of Michigan has been especially hard-hit by the 2008 economic downturn. According to "USA Today," Michigan's unemployment rate has consistently been among the highest in the nation. Luckily, several government and foundation grant opportunities benefit low-income individuals in Michigan.

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

Based in Flint, Michigan, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation funds 501(c)3 organizations that work to bring low-income residents out of poverty. The Pathways out of Poverty program focuses on improving community education, expanding economic opportunities and encouraging community organizing. Grants range from $15,000 to $250,000; an average grant is $100,000. There are no application deadlines, but grant requests are reviewed on an annual basis.

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation 503 S. Saginaw Street, Suite 1200 Flint, Michigan 48502 810-238-5651 mott.org

Michigan Women's Foundation

The Michigan Women's Foundation provides grants to 501(c)3 organizations that serve low-income women and girls. To qualify, grantees must work to promote social change by "eliminating the conditions or dismantling the structures that limit equality for women and girls," according to the foundation's website. Organizations can provide direct service or advocate for changes in systems, institutions and policies that affect women's lives and status. Grants range from $1,000 to $5,000 over a one-year period. The Michigan Women's Foundation only funds organizations that are located in and serve the women and girls of Michigan.

Michigan Women's Foundation 18530 Mack Avenue, Suite 562 Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236 313-640-0128 miwf.org

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Those Michigan winters get cold, and it can be expense to heat your home. Available through a federal grant program, Michigan's Department of Human Services' Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program provides help with home heating costs, weatherization and emergency energy bills. The program is available to low-income Michigan residents who meet eligibility standards. To qualify, applicants must provide information about their income, tax exemptions and household heating bills. Applications are available from mid-January through the end of September each year.

Michigan Department of Human Services 235 S. Grand Avenue Lansing, Michigan 48909 800-292-5650 michigan.gov/dhs

Michigan Tuition Grant Program

The state of Michigan offers the Michigan Tuition Grant Program for low-income residents. To qualify, applicants must plan to attend or be attending a degree-granting, post-secondary school in Michigan. Grants pay a maximum of $2,100 per year. Undergraduate students can receive the grant for up to 10 semesters and graduate students can receive up to six semesters of support. Eligible students must be enrolled at least half-time, not be incarcerated and be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

State of Michigan P.O. Box 30462 Lansing MI 48909 888-447-2687 michigan.gov